This is a brief guide to getting you up and running with fortress. For complex topics like how to decompose a system into individual components, Seperation of Concerns, etc, refer to other documentation.
Or, if you hate CVS, get a nightly build.
You just built fortress, its dependencies, and its examples from cvs in the previous step. This enables you to (finally!) run a HelloWorld demo. change into the bin directory for the examples and run the scripts there (runswing.sh is a nice one).
Play with the examples
After looking at the sources to the examples provided and figuring out what goes on (if you're an IDE person, run the examples in your IDE debugger! If you develop servlets, be sure to try to get the servlet example to run), the real cool but also the hard part begins.
If you're looking at converting an existing avalonized application that uses ECM, well, we want to write a tool that does this all but automatically for you. Not there yet though.
The first thing you want to do is to create a fortress instance inside your applications main loop or bootstrap class. The second thing you want to do is identify the building blocks of your application, and transform them into avalon components (by making them passive, and extending the avalon framework lifecycle interfaces). Then, create the fortress configuration files to tell it about those new components, and transfer control over those components from your bootstrap code to fortress. Done!
Okay, so it may not be so simple as it sounds, but that is the general idea. Just get started, and come and talk to us on the mailing list when you get lost.
Start with the example that fits your enviroment (console, GUI or embedded), and simply start hacking from there. You'll want to think about the various tasks your app serves, and how to decompose your app into components that fit those tasks. The Developing with Avalon paper talks you through this.
The best way to learn about avalon and its concepts is to build your own container. Try and plug in your own implementations of the different parts of fortress, like a different ComponentHandler. Once you get a hang of it, come and join the avalon folks in their quest for the holy grail of software architecture!